Excerpts from: Swami's Discourses

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:19 Jan 1997 Occasion:Address to students]
Every man should recognize that the body has been given to him to render service to others. You must use the body for promoting the welfare of society. Of what use is the endless study of books if you do not use your knowledge for the good of others? A mind that is not utilized for imparting joy to others or a body that is not used for the service of others are totally useless. The best way to love God is to love all and serve all. Students should imbibe this ideal. Man should strive to become good and virtuous. Only when a man is filled with good thoughts and good feelings and performs good deeds will his life become meaningful. These good qualities will serve to make a better man of you. That is the purport of the saying: "A good son illumines his lineage" (Suputro Kuladeepakah). As good sons all of you should pledge yourselves to serve and protect the nation.

I desire that you should all redeem your lives by contemplating on God, cherishing good thoughts and engaging yourselves in the service of your fellow men. I bless you all.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:23 Jan 1997 Occasion:Address to Students]
A good son is one who sets an example by his conduct. One who pursues selfish ends cannot be a good son. A good son is one who reveres and serves his parents, who honors his preceptor, who is humble and respectful towards elders and who earns a good name by his service to society. It is because such sons have become rare that the country is today bedeviled by wickedness and evil practices.

True devotion consists not in merely chanting the name of Rama but in rendering service to society and offering help to the needy. Only then you can become worthy of God's grace. Hanuman exemplified the ideal of implicit obedience to Gods injunctions. The true devotee should give no room for doubt. He must act with full faith in God. He must realize that everything belongs to God. He should give up all senses I and mine. This was the lesson which Rama taught to Kaikeyi when she sought his forgiveness for all the wrong things she had done to Rama.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:8 Mar 1997 Occasion:Shivaratri]
Man has been endowed with a body to practice righteousness. Man has to rise above the level of birds and beasts. Dedicate your lives to the service of your fellowmen. Do not lead an idle life. Bharat has any amount of land and water. Why should people suffer from want? Because they are not engaged in the right type of activities. Many are wasting their time. Time is God. Time wasted is life wasted.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:7 Apr 1997 Occasion:Ugadi]
This is the New Year Day. Its name, "Easwara ", holds the promise of all prosperity in the coming months. It is also associated with the heart which is the abode of the Divine (Easwara). From today try to cleanse the heart of whatever impurities there may be in it. How is this to be done? One, by meditating on God. Secondly, by service to society. By these two alone is purity of the heart achieved. If you secure the love of God, you can secure anything. There is love in you. Use it to win the love of God.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:11 Apr 1997 Occasion:Tamil New Year]
Sai devotee should understand the essence of our culture. Sacrifice and service are the two basic elements.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:26 May 1997]
Hanuman then went on: "Vibhishana! You have been attracted to the Lotus Feet of Rama. Cling to them firmly. Either He should bless you because of your perseverance, or you should merge in Him in course of time. There is no other way. It is wrong to give up the Lord in the middle. This is not the mark of a true devotee. What is devotion? It is not mere repetition of Rama's name endlessly. While contemplating on Rama, you must take part in service to Rama."

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:16 Jul 1997 Occasion:World Youth]
The worlds prosperity or otherwise is based upon the character of the youth-men and women. Hence, young men and women should be pure hearted and render selfless service to the country. They should keep the company of the good and Godly.

Every one should realize what one owes to the society in which one is born and from which one derives so many benefits. Young people should reflect on the question what gratitude they can show to the society, which has given them so much. What service are you doing to society?

Every man should show his sense of gratitude to society by rendering selfless service. It was for this purpose that the Seva Organization was started. But even here the Seva Organizations are being used to promote one's name and fame and not to render service for its own sake.

The body is given for rendering service to society. Today wherever you turn, in the administration, in the business world, in politics or other fields, you see no spirit of sacrifice. In every field the atmosphere is saturated with pollution. This foulness has to be removed. Today the pollution affects people in authority, the parents, the educationists and intellectuals. Those who preen themselves on their scholarship have no humility that should characterize genuine scholarship.

Young people should consider the true purpose of life. They should get rid of all the impurities in their hearts. With pure hearts they should embark on service at all times and everywhere. "Hands in society, head in the forest". From today develop an unwavering mind and a steady vision. That is the way to divinise the world.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:17 Jul 1997 Occasion:World Youth]
Vivekananda said: "Give me ten men who are pure and perfect. I can change the whole world". But I say "I can bring about transformation even with one truly perfect human being. You should have divine as the base number one. Any number of zeros placed alongside the figure of one will carry value; value increases manyfold with its additional zeros. But, without the number one, if you put zeros, they carry no value at all. The Divine is ONE. Sun, moon, earth etc. are all mere zeros. They get value only because of the primary number ONE, which represents the Divine. So God is the hero and the rest are all zeros!. Have full faith in God and surrender to God. Do service with a spirit of dedication as an offering to God. Spread the message of the glory of God in every village by chanting the name of God. Then the atmosphere and climate of the world will change for the better and become sacred.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:18 Jul 1997 Occasion:World Youth Conference]
Speak softly and obligingly. By using harsh words even to your mother, you will ruin yourselves. Consider Mother, Father, Teacher and Guest as God. You have to respect your parents even after your marriage, since they gave birth to you and brought you up. Wife is your selection. But Mother is not so. Mother should be given first place. You have to talk to her sweetly, softly and respectfully. You should also try to influence your friends and relatives, inspiring them to transform and make their life meaningful by doing service to humanity. What is service? It is to do good and share your knowledge with others without selfishness.

Many people invite me often to visit other countries. I do not like to go abroad before setting right this country and transforming its citizens. Many people go abroad begging for money. Many also resort to begging in the name of Swami. Swami has absolutely no selfish motive. You must serve your mother country first. Swami wants nothing from you.

You must become truly embodiments of love and serve to remove fear. Be good and get happiness; Do good and you will be good. Through sacred action, make life sacred with the principles of Truth and Dharma as your guide posts.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:19 Jul 1997 Occasion:World Youth Conference]
You may go to villages for doing Seva or Service. Doing selfless service is the best way to cross the ocean of Samsaara . The Vedas declare "Not by penance - not by undertaking pilgrimages to holy places - but by rendering service to humanity you can achieve the goal of liberation". Ego is eliminated by the spirit of Service and thus it is linked to progress in spirituality.

When the great Sage Valmeeki completed composing the Epic Raamaayana, he was contemplating as to who could propagate this great Epic to the world at large. The two boys Lava and Kusha came before him. When questioned by them as to what he was contemplating on, Valmeeki said that he wanted the story of Raamaayana, which he had composed in poem, be taught to the people and the Divine Glory of Rama should be spread far and wide. The boys with folded hands submitted to the sage who was also their preceptor, "We are ready to even sacrifice our life for your Seva. Command us and we shall follow".

Valmeeki was moved to tears at the spirit of service exhibited by the young boys. He said, "Go out and spread this epic story without delay". Valmeeki had taught them the scriptures and molded their character too. The nectar like contents of an earthen pot are far better than poison kept in a golden jar. The human body is only a mud pot. God exists in this mud pot as Amrith or nectar. We do not want a golden vessel with poison. The world is tempting like a golden vessel but is full of poison of worldly pleasures and pains.

You are all embodiments of God. It is proclaimed in the Gita that all beings are sparks of Divinity. You should not feel shy to speak the truth when you are going to pilgrim shrines such as Tirupathi or Parthi. You should not also fight shy of engaging yourselves in service especially in rural areas, as the villages lack amenities and hygienic conditions. They need your attention more. You may not be able to visit the villages frequently when you are employed in any job due to difficulties of getting leave. When you go to a village, collect a few young persons of the village and teach them health and hygiene and impress on them the necessity to maintain environmental cleanliness. You need not spend much money for traveling to distant places. Select the villages close by and teach the villagers principles of health, hygiene and living in clean surroundings. You can take doctors to give them treatment and health check-up. You should inspire the villagers by your attitude of service and humility.

You know the greatness of Hanumaan who was the symbol of selfless service. He was endowed with mighty power, valor, strength and he was hailed as a great scholar of impeccable character. Yet when the demons in Sri Lanka, questioned him who he was, he never hesitated to reply that he was the servant of Sri Ramachandra.

You will have to feel honored to call yourself as a servant of God and humanity. If you start serving with the attitude that service to man is service to God you will find God there. The same thing you cannot experience in japa or dhyana. You have to shut your mind and open your heart which happens while doing Seva.

Some may ask: while you are God why worship God? Even as you realize you are Divine, you have to do certain things as part of your duty. According to the tradition of Bhaarath, you have to do things to please God or in other words transform work into worship. When you practice this, it becomes easier to realize God. Everything you learn by practice only. Walking, talking, eating, singing and serving need practice. Practice service dedicating all activities to God.

A boy prayed to God to give him strength. What for? It is not for watching TV or movies but for serving God through service to mankind. You say diamond and gold are highly valuable. If you enquire deeply, man is more valuable than all the wealth of the world. Men alone decide the value of gold and diamond, and other materials. Man should have faith in himself. Every one should chant the name of God and engage in service in accordance with the advice given by Hanumaan to Vibheeshana. He said: "Mere chanting Rama's name won't do. You should also engage yourself in Rama's work". Vibheeshana went on chanting the name but failed to make any effort to alleviate the suffering of Sita and Rama on their separation while Hanumaan engaged himself in the service of Rama.

Learn to turn over a new leaf even if you have not lived an ideal life in the past. Do not brood over the past and worry about the future. Concentrate on the present. Take everything as the gift of God; discard worry. You cannot demand sweet medicine for your illness from the doctor. You must take whatever is prescribed. Do not give room in the heart for anything else but God. The world outside is a reflection of the Inner Being. Be happy within and joyful outside and have enthusiasm for service. Do not bother about others heckling you as you are engaged in Service to God.

Even though there are millions of youth in the world, only those of you who have come here are lucky to experience this unique chance. Wherever you go for service, Swami will always be with you. Whatever happens I shall protect you. Do not be carried away by profit or loss. Think of God ceaselessly. Even the great saint composer Thyagaraja doubted for a moment the Sakti (power) of Rama but immediately repented and said the fault was his to have doubted, but God was all powerful. Never give room for doubt.

While you render service in the villages, the villagers should be inspired and encouraged to do the work themselves. When you go out for service, do not fail to take permission of your parents. if they object, tell them softly that this body is given only for doing service and not for wasting in eating, drinking, sleeping and idling. They will not object once they are convinced that you are going for genuine service. You must behave in an exemplary manner.

[From: The Divine Discourse  Date:14 Sep 1997 Occasion:Onam]
Embodiments of Love! Only that person can be said to lead a full human existence whose heart is filled with compassion, whose speech is adorned by Truth and whose body is dedicated to the service of others. Fullness in life is marked by the harmony of thought, word and deed.

The heart should be filled with compassion. Every speech of a human being should be adorned by Truth. Everyone should note the purpose of human life. The ancient adage declares: "The body is given for service to others". The body should be used not only for one's own purposes but also for the benefit of others.

To get rid of selfishness. man has to engage himself in disinterested service (with detachment) and chanting the name of God.

Every human being should deem self-realization as the main purpose of life and dedicate all his activities to the service of his fellow-beings, with constant remembrance of God as the indweller in all. This is the way to redeem one's life.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:22 Sep 1997 Occasion:Paduka Puja Place]
Over many years Subramaniam Chettiar has been engaged in promoting "Paaduka Seva". It is not easy for one at his advanced age to carry a burden of this magnitude. I am aware of the good service he has done so far. Hereafter he should take rest and devote himself to his personal sadhana. It is true that service to others is a form of service to God. But he is no longer in a position to do this.

Why should I be burdened with this immense burden of a Golden Chariot? I do not at anytime desire such things. Instead of this, you may spend any amount of money on social service activities.

The relationship between God and the devotee is from heart to heart and has nothing to do with external paraphernalia You must cultivate this internal quality. Promote purity of the heart. Engage yourselves in selfless service.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:23 Sep 1997 Occasion:Paduka Puja]
Men should seek to lead ideal lives in the service of society. Above all, they should act according to the dictates of their conscience. There should be harmony in thought, word and deed at all times.

Just as no seeds can sprout without rain and without seeds no rain can produce a crop, the devotee must sow the seeds of "Nama-smarana" (chanting the Lord's name) and develop devotion with the help of the shower of grace from the Divine. This was the prayer of the Gopikas to Krishna that he should water their parched hearts by the flow of love from his flute. The Gopikas prayed to Krishna to play on his flute in such a way that the essence of the Vedas flowed out of it as melodious music. [Bhagavan sang the Gopikas' song melodiously]. Everyone should try to convert the body into a flute for the Divine to make His music flow through it. The body should be made a fit instrument for such music. Then it becomes a means of service to others. The best way to love God is to love all, serve all. You must learn even to love your enemy. A kind word even to an enemy may eliminate his hatred. It is through love that man should refine his nature.

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:5 Oct 1997 Occasion:Dasara Place]
Embodiments of Love!
Everyone can reap only the fruits of what he sows. Only good actions can produce good results. Your happiness or sorrow is related to the nature of your actions. In a sense, all actions of man can be regarded as "Yajnas". To cross the ocean of "samsara" (the cycle of birth and death) all that is necessary is service to good people and no other religious observance. By such service, one receives the grace of the Divine. All actions have to be done as an offering to God to secure this grace. They then become "Yajnas".

[From: The Divine Discourse Date:11 Oct 1997 Occasion:Vijaya Dasami]
Embodiments of Love! Today the Yajna which began on the 5th has come to a close. It is Vijayadasami day. It is an auspicious sign that the drinking water project is being transferred on this day to the Andhra government and the Chief Minister has accepted the responsibility for the proper maintenance of the project. There are many more similar welfare schemes which have to be carried out for the good of the people. My entire being, from head to toe, is dedicated to the service of the people. I wish to do many things for the good of the people. I do not wish to talk about them. Action must speak for itself. The Speaker mentioned that the drinking water problem was acute in his district also. Unlike some other districts, the Kolar district has no rivers. Everyone should resolve to see that he contributes his mite to the solution of such problems. Everyone should realize his obligations to society because of what all that he owes to society. Wherever necessary people should come together to solve their problems by their own co-operative action.

[From: The Divine Discourse  Date:22 Nov 1997 Occasion:Convocation]
"Sarve loka hithe rathaah" (Let all rejoice in the well-being of all people in the world") " Sarve jnaana Sampannaah " (the wealth of all knowledge). "Sarve Samhita gunaihi " (Let all be endowed with good qualities). These are three main pronouncements (regarding the educated persons). This implies that every student, after completing his studies, should dedicate himself (or herself) to serving society. For this service, one should acquire all the necessary knowledge. Students should have all good qualities. A good student should promote a calm atmosphere wherever he stays. He should be ever prepared to help others. These are the marks of a good student. Unfortunately students today are not having any of these qualities. Who is to blame? Not the students. Not the teachers. All in society are responsible. Students do not possess the requisite abilities to pursue the right path. Teachers also lack these abilities. They do not take up the task of molding the character of students from an early age. To do so they have to train themselves to be ideal teachers. When the teachers lead an exemplary life, the students will follow their example. There is no scrutiny of how teachers teach or how students study.

[From: The Divine Discourse  Date:25 Dec 1997 Occasion:Christmas]
Dharma and Seva
The Vedas describe man as Manuja. This implies that man takes birth to experience fulfillment of his desires. Hence, it is necessary for man to make his desires sublime. He should seek to know what can make his life ideal and exemplary. What can contribute to the well-being of society? What is ideal for the whole world? Thinking over these questions, one should develop sublime ideas. People should not act in haste on every impulse of the mind. It is said that the body is a prerequisite for the achievement of righteousness. But it is important to note that man is endowed with a body to render service to others. The implication of the two dicta is that while discharging his duties, man should also render service to others.

There are any number of helpful services to be rendered by men in this world today. We have here three types of devotees: There are those who are not conscious of their abilities. There are a second type of devotees who seek God alone and do not desire anything else from God. The third type are those who adore God as the embodiment of Truth and get their wishes fulfilled by their prayers to Him as the omnipotent Lord. God is one. But He can be worshipped under different names and forms by devotees.